Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Work (the Paid Kind)

The only use spam comments have is to remind me of the occasional old post I don't hate rediscovering. Today's special was this one. I remember that day, but my memory is unlike what is said in the post. Funny how brains work.

Yet again, though, it gets me thinking about my current gig. For a long time, I still thought of this as my "new" job - and yet, in a career blessed with so many reorgs and layoffs, it is by a huge margin the position I have held for the longest time in my history.

For decades, I never kept a single job for more than two years. By and large, this speaks to the nature of the economy since I began participating in it; and only a few of my job changes came at my own hands, as promotions of sorts. When I was with a certain large securities firm no longer as-such in existence, my tenure was over five years, but I held four jobs in that time: and every change was upwardly mobile, and every change was at my own instigation. But mostly, I am a product of the ever-"evolving" (growth-and-shareholder-obsessed) economic times I came of age in.

So realizing recently that I've been with my team, my "new" company, for three and a half years has been curious.

It doesn't feel like a long time, compared to the most important jobs I hold in my memory. It also REALLY doesn't feel like I've reached (or distantly passed) an endpoint, which I have felt even in jobs I have loved in the past. Two years and I become afraid. Two years, and I see change whether I want to or not. My last job, which I was proud to hold and did not want to leave, lasted two and a half, and I was giddy with fear just because of my own presumed expiration dating ... slightly before I realized that the changes around me gave me reason to be giddy with fear because I recognized what was going on. I left. And almost immediately, the cliff I'd been perched upon crumbled. I was safe, but it was heartbreaking.

And I am still safe.

The things I have accomplished in this position, with this company, pretty easily surpass anything I have been able to manage before.

When I began to look afield, after a couple internal interviews with said previous employer, I reached out to someone I knew from HR there, who had left. And ended up with the company she went to.

She had recommended me to my now-team, specifically my now-executive, knowing that I was a seasoned admin and he was unseasoned with having one, and that I would be able not only to step into required competencies, but also to form the work I'd do and essentially train my team to have an admin at all. The unwritten side of this was that she knew I'd be able to create my own work.

The way this has played out is that I have created my own terms.

My team don't have me doing PowerPoints to speak of, I rarely write memos that aren't my own idea, and apart from monitoring expenses for compliance and speaking to my direct boss's availability, I don't do a lot of the things most people THINK secretaries spend our lives on.

When I first started, one of the managers under my boss's care jumped in with both feet. He had me working on a lot of things, but one key one remains a core part of my work - albeit now in a very different way.

Both Feet left our company years ago, and in his absence, I picked up a great deal in his area. It took a long time to fill his position, so by the time we did so, I was uppity in the extreme in this department. So the new guy came into a situation with a secretary already managing up. And he seems to have been willing to leave me to it. With the result that that administrative tedium I picked up way back when is now an area in which I have streamlined, assertively managed, and brought into an entirely new proportion.

I've saved my company a crap-ton of money, on my own initiative, cemented best practices, insert-your-least-favorite-corporate-speak here. Because I cared, and because nobody else was doing this work, and because nobody told me not to.

I lived right up to what that HR person expected of me, and then some.


So re-reading that old post was interesting, in the context of my continued realization that I seem to be in a job well on its way to Methuselah status as far as my CV goes. I see in it a bit of the same sinking-my-teeth-in/getting-it-done-ery that has served me here, and even some of the amusement I felt at losing a job I so desperately hated (but which I took a long time to realize I did).

I still call that the worst April Fool's Day joke ever - not least as they jumped the gun by a day on the punchline.

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